transit care & airport oversight
Transit Care is the care of your pets and other animals which are passing through an airport as they travel from somewhere to somewhere, but stopping at some mid-point airport for a period of time in transit as they wait for their connecting, onward flight.
Every transiting animal wants transit care.
DKC is the exclusive, official Animal Handler for Emirates and dnata, providing animal care management on behalf of these two organisations for the countless animals which transit through Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) each year... for your pets of all kinds and an endless variety of small and large exotics.
We also have a long-standing, very cooperative working relationship with the UAE Ministry Veterinarians who are directly involved in all animal import, export and transit processes.
Our work includes providing the basic care we all expect animals to get, as well as the overall management of health, travel box repair/maintenance/replacement, and general wellbeing. We ensure that their transit stops and any waiting periods they experience for import clearance or departing flights in Dubai are comfortable and safe.
how it all works
Shortly following the arrival of any flight carrying animals (it is global standard practice that all animals are loaded last onto departing flights and unloaded first upon arrival), they are transferred from the aircraft in climate-controlled vehicles to the AVI area at Dubai International Airport (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC). ("AVI" stands for the French "Animaux Vivant" - meaning "Live Animals" - and is the industry-standard term for all animals travelling by air.) This area is not fancy but it is quiet and has enclosures for pets, as well as appropriate spaces for other types of animal. As with the vehicles, it is a fully climate-controlled place, of course. Pets are removed from their travel boxes, put into the enclosures and given plenty of water and fed. Since animals really should not be over-eating when travelling, if the transit period and/or total travel time is relatively short, only a small amount of food is given. Naturally, for exotic animals, the process is rather different and entirely depends on the species involved. Importantly, access to the AVI area is strictly secure, limited to specific airline ground crew and to DKC; however, it is only DKC who physically handle and care for all these animals, pets and exotics alike, while they are in the AVI area ~ DKC are not involved in the movement of animals to/from the AVI area and aircraft because airlines have their own staff to handle this specialised work, but once receiving animals in the AVI area, until we hand them over to airline staff for their onward flights, we provide all the care and oversight they need.
During the transit care period, aside from being given water and food, dogs are also walked and approximately every 6 hours all animals are checked and rechecked for anything they might need, including, in the case of dogs, more walkies. We also make sure that any pets which have done a bit of unwanted toileting (or anything else) during their travels are bathed and that their travel box is cleaned too. All animals are checked carefully for general health, including any physical or other issues that might need to be attended to, urgent or otherwise. Our handlers are not veterinarians but they are all exhaustively trained, including having successfully completed IATA's Live Animal Regulations (LAR) examination, and when necessary will call in our vet when they see a potential issue or something which clearly needs veterinary attention. Generally speaking, our handlers are pretty much constantly in the AVI area, round-the-clock, in order to handle not only transiting animals but also our own shipments and other responsibilities, so naturally we keep a watchful eye on all the animals very regularly.
We also pay close attention to the travel boxes, making repairs if needed and even replacing them entirely if called for, either because they are too damaged, not well-enough built or indeed not the correct size. Damaged or missing water bowls are replaced, too. And of course any bedding that has travelled with pets will be washed if soiled, time permitting; if there is not enough time before the onward flight, the bedding will be replaced so that your pet commences the next leg of his or her journey in a clean, comfortable and safe travel box.
As we've said, our handlers will feed your pet (and other animals) during the transit period. For dogs and cats we rely on Royal Canin, but if your pet has need of something else or has any kind of special diet or, indeed, if you simply are concerned about him or her getting an upset stomach from a change of diet (however short-lived that might be), we recommend that a small bag of your chosen food is attached securely to the top of the travel box (not inside!), marked "Dinner for transit time!" or something else similarly clear, so that this is used instead of our standard fare.
Special Care / Handling:
Should any kind of special care or handling for your pet be required during their transit period (besides the special handling all animals get of course!), please just let your airline know in advance and they, in turn, will let us know and we, in turn, will let you know through them, or even directly, whether or not we can accommodate. Usually we can, so don't worry.
If your pet or other animal requires medication during transit in Dubai, our handlers are fully trained to administer most types, including insulin for diabetics, and/or we can ensure that our vet is present to handle this if required. Do please ensure that all details about the medication and the administration of it are provided to your airline at the time you book the flight and that a letter from your veterinarian is provided which clearly states the following:
- The medical condition for which medication is required.
- The medication prescribed ~ name(s) and format (e.g. tablet, drops, cream, injection... etc.)
- Instructions for administering during normal circumstances: e.g. 1 tablet with food every morning
- AND instructions for administering during the transit period.
A copy of the instructions must be taped to the travel box and the original veterinary letter must travel with the original travel documents.
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Glad you asked!
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